Homosassa, Florida
On the banks of the Homosassa River
A blue heron on the dock at Homosassa, Florida

Homosassa is a census designated place in western Citrus County, almost on the Gulf of Mexico. Downstream is the major part of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.

David Levy Yulee was one of the first settlers in the Homosassa area, establishing a sugar cane, cotton and citrus plantation on 5,100 acres close to what is now the townsite of Homosassa in 1851. Yulee built a steam-driven press to crush the sugar cane and produce sugar, syrup and molasses (mostly for making rum). Yulee was quite active in Florida politics and a lot of his product was used to supply Confederate troops during the Civil War. In 1864, Yulee's properties in the Homosassa area were attacked by Union troops and his nearby home was burned. The sugar mill was left alone but the 1,000 slaves who operated everything were freed and the sugar mill was never reopened.

Today the Yulee sugar mill is the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site and you'll most likely drive right through it on your way into Homosassa.

The Homosassa River (where most of the business in Homosassa is centered) is a favorite site for manatees to hang out. If you're interested in looking for manatees in the water, just hang out at one of the waterfront restaurants and pubs for awhile and you'll probably see one coming up for air.

I visited Homosassa in late March. The town was quiet, the only real activity being along the waterfront. Most of the tour/fishing boats were already out for the day, the docks were mostly being used by brown pelicans, common egrets and blue herons. Both sides of the river looked to be lined with small resorts/motels with a few private homes and vacation rentals thrown in. The signage told me there were quite a few tour/fishing boat operators in town. Apparently the main shopping district is located several miles east of town along US Highway 19 in Homosassa Springs and further north in Crystal River.